Authors: Tiana Laveen
He was tired of people telling him what was and what was not important!
Regardless, Dr. Owens had personally not done anything wrong, but now it was as if the two were working as a unit, buddy-buddy, in love with the notion of forcing him clear over the edge.
“I’m not your walking experiment, do you understand me?!” He pointed in the guy’s direction.
“Aaron, listen. You will need—”
“I DON’T NEED
AND I SURE AS HELL DON’T NEED NOTHIN’ YOU OR SHE GOT!” He got to his feet, the chains around his ankles and wrists rattling noisily. Due to him now being coined, ‘high risk’, once again, the four-piece suit had made a comeback. Clattering and clanking, he moved about, unable to go away, but not quite wishing to stay. He stood there as a fraction of a fact, a whisper of his former self, whoever that may have been.
“Try to calm down, Aaron,” the doctor said dryly.
“Calm down or what? Are you scared?” He beamed. “You made
I stayed shackled this time, didn’t want to chance me goin’ off on the deep end and losin’ it. I know you heard I had a fit, a meltdown. Maybe I’m done… finished, right? I know what the hell is going on here but now you have the audacity to sit there and tell me that, as part of my treatment, I have to stay with this woman overnight. A whole goddamn weekend! Wear a wedding band and pretend I’m married to ’er! No damn way! No
“Aaron, I could make it mandatory for your treatment, but that’s not how I operate and you know this. I would much prefer you do what is necessary on your own.”
me?” His gaze lowered on the tiny insect with thick, darkly rimmed glasses that surely weighed more than he did.
Yet, Dr. Owens didn’t flinch. He didn’t blink. He simply stared up at him impassively, unable to be read, understood, or dissected.
“I hate you, too…” Aaron took a step back from him, seething with rage. He felt like he had after he’d first met the guy—filled with perplexity and hostility.
“Why do you say you hate me, Aaron? I’m only trying to help you.”
“No, you’re turnin’ this into some circus. I came to you for help, and instead of helping me, you wanna lock me up with this person I met through your pen pal program that blew the hell up in my face. Instead of bein’ sorry about this, you keep pushin’ it! I’d rather be in the hole! Put me in isolation; I don’t care. I’m not doin’ it.”
“Aaron, you have nothing to be afraid of.”
“I’m not afraid!”
afraid, Aaron. It’s okay to be scared sometimes. You are fearful because you still care about her, even after knowing who and what she is.” Dr. Owens leaned back in his seat, real concern on his face. “I know a part of you would like to discuss these matters with her as well. Due to that, I’ve arranged to have you sent to Limestone for the weekend under the guise of a weekend training program. According to my records for Holman, you can—”
“This is bullshit!”
“What’s bullshit Aaron is the fact that I care enough about you and what has happened—the right, the wrong and the good of it all—enough to jeopardize my job!” The man’s voice boomed throughout the small room. “I could lose my license over this! Not over the mistake, but the solution! Yes, you are a walking experiment, but you are the best kind!” He rose to his feet and they hooked gazes, their mutual anger marrying right then and there. “I’m not supposed to be doing this, but it is the only way I can think of to help you! This ties into so much. Do you want to keep on down this path or deal with it?! You don’t run, you ride the storm, choose your poison, and claim your position!” The man’s voice vibrated as the emotions burst through him…
Aaron sighed, crossed his arms, and remained quiet. Dr. Owens was more than his therapist; he was a friend, and they both knew it… So it was time to treat him as such… reluctantly or not.
“Okay, so here is what I’d like to do.” Dr. Owens retook his seat after the calm settled over them. “Limestone Correctional Facility has conjugal visit facilities that most people are unaware of, for a myriad reasons. Most inmates are not allowed to use them, but in some cases, they are in fact permissible. I will ensure that you receive an OK. I would be immediately taken in to fill out some paperwork and then you would be allowed to enter when the prison population is not out in the yard. You’d have complete privacy and anonymity, not including the guard that is designated to stay right outside the door.”
Another surge of anger swelled within Aaron. His eyes undoubtedly darkened as he looked at the man who sat across from him. He tried to stay positive, to dwell within the light, but… the darkness, the blackness… the stark pitch inside of him won…
“You can’t trust me to not to do something to ’er…” He smirked, placing one hand over the other on his lap.
“You won’t.” Clearing his throat, the doctor casually turned to his computer and began to type as if nothing of importance had been stated.
I just made a damn threat and he ignores me… fucking arrogant son of a bitch.
“You don’t know that…” Aaron leaned over the man’s desk, waiting for him to jump out of his skin.
You’re afraid of me. I love it, feed me… feed me your fear!
“I’m 99.99% sure of it, Aaron. You’re a threat to many but to Mia?” He kept his eyes fixed on the computer and typed away. “Nah, I don’t believe that for one second.”
“How can you be so sure, huh?” Aaron slicked the tip of his tongue over his upper teeth, hungry for a confrontation. He’d fast become a drink called ‘Sludge’; he’d never go down easy. “You said I’m sociopathic, cold hearted, violent, and xenophobic, with childhood traumas that have left me fucked up to the point that I ooze with emotional and mental dysfunction. How could you trust a fella like me to be nice to anyone, hmmm?”
predisposed to violence when you feel threatened; you were an extreme racist that is a work in progress. However, you understand the pieces that created that situation in your life and you
have childhood traumas that have left deep-rooted psychological and emotional scars. Yet, I do not believe you are particularly cold hearted and you being a sociopath is still on the table, but mostly off… I’m leaning more towards narcissistic tendencies, but only a bit more time will tell.”
“And yet you’d put me in the ring wit’ ’er anyway. You want me to hurt her, don’t you? You
me to end up in prison for the rest of my days, regardless of my upcoming appeal and all the other bullshit I’m dealin’ with.”
Testing, testing, testing… 1,2,3
“No, that’s not my mission, Aaron, and you know it.” The doctor slowly removed his glasses and set them beside a black, shiny mug. The ceramic mug was plain and so glossy, Aaron could see his reflection clearly in the thing. He looked at himself, his white image against the blackness, the darkness, the blank canvas of night. He stared at it for a long while until he was interrupted.
“My mission, Aaron, is to help you, not harm you. Not everyone is out to get you. Your trust has been violated repeatedly as of late, and now you are leery of anyone and everyone who crosses your path.”
“That’s right, as I should be. So tell me why you think I’d be able to control myself with her, after everything she’s done to me?”
“Because you love her, Aaron…”
Taken aback, Aaron wanted to shield himself from the man’s eyesight so he averted his gaze. A surge of compunction encompassed him, and he couldn’t wish the shit away.
love her, and it upsets you that you do. That despite knowing she is African American, deep down inside you don’t care and… you still desire her. You are upset with yourself that this is in fact truth, and that is what you work with—truth. It’s your compass.”
Aaron turned slowly back in the man’s direction, trying to keep himself together, from spilling his insides right then and there. He was torn up inside, just like her letters that he’d ripped to shreds. He’d ripped apart all but one…
Regardless, everything the guy said was accurate, dead on the money. Dr. Owens knew him so well, it scared him at times… and this was truly one of those times.
“I can’t be in love with no ni….” He paused, slammed his fist into his own gut. He witnessed the doctor’s eyes widen from witnessing his self-abuse, yet he felt no pain from his self-administered mighty blow. He wasn’t even sure what had caused him to attack himself like that—maybe to dim and distract the agony that mingled inside of his tattered heart. “I can’t be in love with no black woman, Dr. Owens,” he stated woefully. “I can’t be in love with her; I just can’t, and that’s all there is to it.”
, and that’s what you need to focus on.”
They were quiet for a moment.
Aaron looked towards the doctor’s window. It appeared as if it was going to rain. Maybe a storm outside could disguise the typhoon within him. Before him, the doctor sat, waiting. A soft, blue layer of grief poured over him, one he’d never felt before. It seemed as though someone had died… perhaps it was him?
“You know, I ain’t been able to call out ’er name?” The blues in his heart played music at his eulogy. “I ain’t been able to get her out my mind.” Aaron looked down at his lap then back at his therapist, stuttering a bit over his awful confession. “I reckon it’s the Southern gentleman in me.” He smiled sadly. “My daughter’s mother, well, I get real angry behind her back, behind closed doors, but when she and I are face to face and my daughter’s standing there, I don’t disrespect ’er. I don’t say nothin’ bad to her.
“Not ’cause she a woman, not ’cause she’s worth respectin’, but ’cause she’s the mother of my child and I can’t go around doin’ that, letting my kid see me behavin’ that way, you know? My daughter is watchin’ me, listening. Kids don’t care what we say to ’em, you know, as far as what to do and not do, unless it matches up. Laura is watchin’ what I do. I want her to be proud of me, know she can depend on me. She can’t trust me if I talk bad about ’er mother. That’s her mother, you know?”
Dr. Owens smiled and nodded in understanding.
“I can’t hate people that have done things for me, given me stuff I needed. I tried to hate Laura’s mama, but couldn’t, even after all the mess she took me through. I sure as hell don’t like her, but she gave me my child, so,” he said with a shrug, “in some ways, it was worth it. Now this here, this Melissa, Mia…whatever.” He turned away and shook his head. “She gave me somethin’, too.” He nervously scratched the side of his head. “She made me think about things differently. That was a pretty big deal ’cause nobody could, ’cept you and her. I consider myself a logical, rational thinker, you know?”
“Yes, I know.”
“I gotta have stuff make sense. Emotions don’t make any sense, so I don’t too much care for them…but they came and got me anyway.” He laughed mirthlessly as he looked down into his lap. “Yup, yes sir. They came and got me anyway. I done fucked around and fell in love, Dr. Owens…” A tear streamed down his cheek and his fake smile grew larger as more and more waves of shame enveloped him. “I done fucked around ’nd fell in love with a black woman!” Another tear fell, blurring his vision. “That’s the joke of the year; hell, the damn century, ain’t it?” He laughed a bit louder; this one came from his gut. “That’s why I didn’t want to see ’er, be alone with her, Doc. You were right… you’ve been right ’bout 95% of the time.”
The man in front of him smiled sympathetically but let him keep on talking.
“I gotta address this… yeah.” He’d come to a decision, pushed his concerns aside. “That’s a good idea.” He exhaled deeply.
“Address it? So, are you agreeing to meet her?”
Warm waves of saliva accumulated inside his mouth as his misshapen, raw nerves became practically shot to hell.
“The way I see it, whether you said so or not, Dr. Owens, I don’t have a choice. I’m making myself do this,” he pointed to his chest. “I don’t want to, but it seems almost necessary. It’s my choice, so I’m choosing to take care of this, once and for all.”
“You need closure. You need answers,” Dr. Owens said in a kind, level tone.
“I don’t know exactly what I need, to be quite honest with you. I just know what I don’t want… and I don’t want to hurt like this anymore—to feel this pain—so I need to look her in the eye and tell her how I feel. Guess I was wrong. I
know what I need after all…”
the largest prison in the entire state of Alabama. Limestone Correctional Facility had 2086 beds and had had its share of controversy over the years. Mia had been to the place twice previously. Once, to visit a relative who’d gotten in over his head, and another to assist in a teaching program, by invitation only. The place was much colder than Holman, and it wasn’t due to the air conditioning being set too high. No, it had a barren, sterile feel to it, a non-welcoming air about it. Some of the reasons were more than obvious. The staff was stretched to the limit and the sense of unity was non-existent.
Regardless, she wasn’t there to make friends, but to look a man in his fiery orange eyes and get down to the nitty-gritty. She was there to unburden her heart, to tell him the truth. Dr. Owens had given her precise instructions that he’d reiterated must be followed to the letter.